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Noggin Hoggin' Challenge Starting on Monday April 28, 2014

Here are the past questions which were used in this Noggin Hoggin' Challenge, along with the answers we accepted and an explanation.


Bonus Question (Head Start Clue)

On a recent vacation near Cancun, Mexico, a newlywed couple were speaking with a local resident and discovered that the reef running along the coast of Puerto Morelos is part of the second largest coral reef in the world, and is in fact a National Marine Park.

They decided to spend an afternoon underwater. With snorkel gear in place, they dived in; the spectacle that greeted them was extraordinary! The structure and complexity of the coral itself was breathtaking. Baby barracuda and stingray were familiar to them both and therefore easily identifiable. Other tropical fish beamed colors so vivid they seemed to be lit from within.

Later that night, while reflecting on their adventure over dinner, they found themselves most fascinated by a particular species that was fairly easy to describe, but whose name was unknown to them. They proceeded to ask their waiter, Mario, if he could put a name to the aquatic breed that had impressed them so. He smiled knowingly and told them he'd be right back.

He returned promptly and announced that he had just retired from his job as a detective and wanted to pass his fond enthusiasm for his old trade on to others. Mario then encouraged the young couple to research for themselves what type of fish they'd seen. He placed this piece of paper on their table and walked away.

With the help of Mario's clues, the couple soon identified the fish that had captivated them so. Which feathered creature is it named after?

Acceptable answers:
a parrot
the parrot


The bright and colorful parrotfish is not only a real treat to observe, it has unique and remarkable characteristics. A few of these traits, presented to the newlyweds by the detective turned waiter, confirmed that they had in fact been swimming in the Caribbean Sea with a parrotfish.

The photo was an excellent lead, depicting a distinct, odd-looking beak of a mouth that resembles that of a parrot, hence the parrotfish's peculiar name. Although it was possible to answer this headstart question using the photo alone, the hints would have definitely helped to confirm your answer.

Parrotfish most commonly change gender in response to fluctuations in population density. Some male parrotfish maintain throngs of females, and when the male dies, one of the females will change gender and color and become the dominant male.

The development of parrotfish is evident as they undergo a series of changes in color and pattern. At birth, male and female parrotfish tend to look exactly the same, colorwise. When parrotfish reach adulthood, however, they take on a totally new coloration. The exact colors depend on the specific type of parrotfish. The coloring of secondary male parrotfish is especially intense and vivid.

Parrotfish have teeth that are uniquely designed to help them graze on corals and algae growing on the surfaces of rocks throughout the reef. Their strong, beak-like, fused teeth are used to bite off pieces of stony coral. Their pharyngeal teeth (a second set of teeth located in their throat) are used to grind up corals, which then travels through their digestive systems and is deposited in the reef as white coral sand. An individual fish can produce as much as one ton (over 2,000 pounds) of sand per year!


Question for Monday April 28, 2014:

Led astray like lemmings to the sea...

http://static.tibaco.nl/games/4/244/ (unfortunately, this won't work on an iPod, iPhone, or iPad)

When things get TRICKY, "We all fall down"!

Part A: How many ornamental pillars can you count on this specific level? (Answer with a numeral)

Art mimics nature... or does it?

A documentary, produced by an industry powerhouse, famously showcased the animal behaviour on which the above game is based. It is very controversial.
Watch the video!

Part B:  What is the name of the body of water into which the critters were discovered to ACTUALLY have plunged?

The correct solution to this question includes the answers to Parts A and B, separated by a single space.

Acceptable answers:
4 Bow River


Lemmings is an award-winning and very popular computer game that was developed in 1991. It is based on the misconception that migrating lemmings blindly follow one another wherever they happen to go, even to their death. The purpose of the game is to herd and control this perpetual forward march, taking advantage of special skills, to safely guide them through a dangerous terrain to their home, and effectively save them from themselves.

Acceptance of this bizarre and inaccurate lemming behaviour by the general population is the legacy of White Wilderness, a 1958 documentary by the Walt Disney Productions studio, that won the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award that year.

During the three years of filming, in downtown Calgary, Alberta, not by the Arctic Ocean, a migratory sequence was simulated by having a few dozen imported lemmings run on a turntable, and lemming "suicide" was captured on film by transporting the poor critters to a cliff and "herding" them over the edge, into the Bow River.

Today, you can download and play a modern App remake of the Lemmings game known as Caveman on your mobile device.


Question for Tuesday April 29, 2014:

Easter Eggs!

Easter may be over, but did you find ALL the hidden eggs? See if you can spot them in the images below.

On what exact date was this specific sort of Easter egg first visible in an episode that eventually spawned its own series?  (Write the date in the following format YYYYMMDD)

Acceptable answers:


"Easter eggs", in this context, refer to messages, inside jokes, or special features hidden by the makers of movies and computer programs for others, who may or may not be "in the know", to discover.

In this particular example, the Easter egg "A113" is hidden in various animated movie still shots. The first is The Princess and the Frog by Walt Disney Animation studios. The other seven are all movies from Pixar Animation Studios and are, in order of appearance: Up!, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Ratatouille, Cars, Cars 2, and A Bug's Life.

The significance of "A113" is that it is the room number at the California Institute of the Arts where a number of very successful character animation and graphic design alumni once studied together and were among its earliest graduating class. Room A113 and CalArts' famous graduates include John Lasseter, Tim Burton, and Brad Bird.

The latter was the first to salute his fellow alumni and acknowledge his CalArts roots by incorporating "A113" in his work. It was used as a license plate number in the "Family Dog" episode of the Amazing Stories TV series, first aired on Feb. 16, 1987. It has reportedly been incorporated in many Disney and every Pixar movie since (though some say that it is not in Monsters Inc.). There are many, many more Easter Eggs hidden in these and other directors' work - see how many you can discover!


Question for Wednesday April 30, 2014:

Listen carefully. Can you hear us calling out to you from our museum in the valley of the Sun?

Fashioned from cottonwood, we are rooted in spiritual beliefs, culture, and tradition. Many of our kind were traditionally gifted to young girls, not to toy with, but to teach and guide them.

A number of authentic collections can be found, and are very valuable. The collection we belong to was initiated by our father (who later became a presidential nominee) when he was a mere 7 years old. He gave us up in his 60th year so we could continue to teach and inspire. How many of us belong to this particular collection?

Acceptable answers:


The Heard Museum is located in Pheonix, Arizona, which is also known as the Valley of the Sun. The museum showcases American Indian Art and History.

A popular exhibit at the Heard features hundreds of Hopi Kachina dolls. (Other names include Katsina or "tithu".)

These dolls are hand carved by Hopi Indians of northern Arizona from the root of cottonwood trees, and traditionally weren't considered toys. Rather the dolls represent benevolent spirits, each with its own name and purpose, and are given as ceremonial gifts to teach young Hopi girls about tribal beliefs.

The word "Katsina" essentially refers to three things: spiritual beings, a male Hopi dressed in regalia for a ceremony to represent and honour a particular spirit, and the wooden carvings given to young girls at these ceremonies.

In 1916, a young boy named Barry Goldwater visited the Hopi Reservation and obtained his first Katsina doll. He grew up to be, among other things, a United States Senator and presidential nominee, and eventually amassed an impressive and valuable collection of 437 dolls. In 1969, Goldwater donated the collection to the Heard Museum where they remain on display today.

On a plaque in the exhibit area commemorating his gift to the museum Goldwater states:

"My fondest wish for the future of this collection is that students of all ages will be able to visit and study it and will emerge with a fuller understanding of what the Kachina means to the Pueblo Indians . . . and to our heritage."

The most expensive Kachina doll (not belonging to Goldwater's collection) sold at auction for close to $300,000. Generally, an older, mid-size Kachina in good condition from the 1930s can be purchased for around up to $1,500, while a very good doll that is either rare, old, or larger than average will generally sell for $12,000 or more!

Goldwater Collection

Suggestions for further research and reading:
How did the Hopi people feel when dolls first started being sold and traded? Did their perspectives change with time?
How have Hopi Kachina dolls evolved? What key differences can you spot when comparing carvings pre-1800s to more recent versions?
Can you find Hopi Kachina dolls on the market today? If so, what are some ways to verify their authenticity?


Question for Thursday May 1, 2014:

Is there a doctor in the house?

Bob hasn't been feeling well for the last while, and decides to come to your medical office to seek professional advice. He describes the following symptoms to you:

  • Tired
  • Weak
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Tongue feels weird
  • Brittle nails

You also notice that his complexion is very pale, and when you listen to his heartbeat, it is clearly racing.

You ask whether he has noticed easy bruising or bleeding gums while brushing his teeth. You also inquire about any GI side effects such as stomach upset, diarrhea or constipation. He answers "no" to both.

Considering both his symptoms and your observations, you have a general sense of what might be wrong, but need more information to be sure. You decide to send Bob for a CBC test, and in the meantime, offer the following list of foods to incorporate into his diet. You also suggest he drink a small glass of orange juice while eating them.

A few days later the CBC test results arrive, and they confirm your suspicions.

Choosing one food from each of the categories above (ie: one vegetable, one meat, etc.), which combination will provide the greatest benefit in responding to Bob's specific condition, based on nutritional values alone in raw form, and assuming the same size servings of each particular type of food?

To enter your response, choose one food item from each column and list your answer in letter form. Do not use commas or spaces. Example: ABCD, which would indicate the food combination of Asparagus, Chicken Breast, Lentils, and Dark Chocolate.

Acceptable answers:


Some of Bob's symptoms are commonly associated with a variety of illnesses, but taken as a whole, anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency top the list of strong possibilities. The lack of bruising, bleeding gums, and gastrointestinal symptoms help to rule out a B12 deficiency, leaving anemia as the strongest possibility. Based on this preliminary information, Bob is given a list of foods that are a good source of iron, and advised to drink orange juice while eating these foods since vitamin C will help his body absorb the iron.

The Complete Blood Count (CBC) test results show Bob's results as well as standard ranges. We can see the RBC (red blood count), Hemoglobin, and Hematocrit are all below normal levels, which further supports an iron deficiency diagnosis. Anemia is a very common blood disorder affecting over a half billion people worldwide. There are many types of anemia, and the causes and treatments vary widely. Iron-deficiency anemia, the most common type, is very treatable with diet changes and/or iron supplements.

Therefore, the list of iron-rich foods presented to Bob is of great benefit. Searching out nutritional values for each of the items listed in the table, in their raw form, gives us the following:

Nutritional values, per 100 grams

Several sources online allow for viewing nutritional values of the foods listed in the table. After compiling the information, we see that spinach, veal liver, lentils, and dried pumpkin seeds have the highest iron content in their respective categories. Therefore, the correct answer is CACB (we also accepted CACD, as some very dark chocolate can have up to 12 mg of iron per 100 g). Although this may not alleviate all of Bob's symptoms, and further testing and follow-up may be necessary, it's a great place to start trying to address his symptoms non-invasively while monitoring progress.

Congratulations on a successful preliminary diagnosis and treatment plan, Doc!


Question for Friday May 2, 2014:

It's Magic!

Begin by using your math skills to solve the square puzzle.

Apply your findings to the second puzzle, and READ through it (no mathematics necessary) to determine the correct number sequence for the fifth line.

Hint: As you work through the puzzle, "look-and-say" the numbers while glancing at the row above.

(The correct answer will consist of numerals only – no text. Do not use spaces when keying in your answer.)

Acceptable answers:


A magic square is a type of puzzle in which the sum of each row (horizontal and vertical), as well as the diagonals, results in one constant number. A related, and more generalized puzzle known as a semimagic square, is where the horizontal and vertical rows add up to a constant, but not the diagonals. In this case, the constant is determined by adding the top row first, since all the numbers are given there, and we find that our constant number is 15. Now, we can solve the rest of the puzzle, and find that a semimagic square results:

Transfer your findings to the second puzzle. Once each number is assigned to its respective pattern, READ the numbers.

The first line simply reads one, eight, three, two.

The second line reads one one, one eight, one three, one two. (Notice how the words correspond to the line above.) You may have to read it more than once, and change cadence and rythym, to notice the correlation.

Continue reading and see that the third line refers back to the second line, naming the amount of times each number appears, in order. This is known as the look-and-say sequence.

Using this system, create the fifth and final line, and the solution is revealed as 11131221181321232112.


Question for Saturday May 3, 2014:

It's ALL in the RINGS!

Acceptable answers:
Hal Haig Prieste
Hal Prieste
Haig Prieste
Hal Haig "Harry" Prieste
Harry Prieste


Here is the solution to the Olympic crossword puzzle:

There are a lot of interesting stories here so, if you are interested, take a bit of time to read up on some of the fascinating people and events that have shaped the history and glory of the Olympics. You won't be sorry you did!

Now, if you unscramble the letters "… in the RINGS!", in the order that the official Olympic rings are linked together, you get the following question to solve:

Who stole the original flag?

This is, of course, referring to the original white Olympic flag with (you guessed it!) the very same official ring pattern on it.

The official Olympic flag was first unveiled and flown in Antwerp, Belgium, at the 1920 Summer Olympics and was therefore named the Antwerp Flag. This flag mysteriously disappeared at the end of the Olympic games that year.

77 years later, Hal Haig Prieste, a 101 year-old former Olympian and the platform diving bronze medalist at the 1920 Summer Olympic event, was interviewed by a reporter who happened to make a reference to the missing flag. Mr. Prieste surprised all present when he declared, "I can help you with that. It's in my suitcase."

It turns out that Prieste had been dared by another diver to steal the flag, so he climbed the flag pole and took it… and kept it folded in his suitcase for 77 years! He finally decided to return it because, in his own words, "I thought I ain't going to be around much longer—it's no good in a suitcase… I won't be able to hang in up in my room."

Mr. Prieste finally returned the Antwerp Flag at the 2000 Olympics and was thanked for his "donation" with a plaque. The original flag is now on display in the Olympic Museum, in Lausanne, Switzerland.